Maraschino Cherry Nanaimo Bars Recipe

Happy Thanksgiving to my fellow Canadians! I am getting a little green eyed, hearing and reading about all of the yummy food you guys are planning to snarf this weekend. Plus, I mean… long weekend! Could *totally* use one of those, but we’re gonna be busting our butts on exterior repairs this weekend. Spare a thought for us? LOL!

Anyway, in honor of the holiday weekend, I’m gonna share an awesome version of our national dessert – the Nanaimo bar.

As I’ve previously mentioned, on my Mocha Nanaimo Bars Recipe, I do my bars a little different than the norm, just in that I prefer a lot more filling.

I love the bright color and flavor of these cherry Nanaimo bars – they make a really pretty addition to any holiday dessert table!

Enjoy, and have a safe and happy Thanksgiving, eh? 🙂

Maraschino Cherry Nanaimo Bars

Bottom Layer:
½ cup butter (unsalted)
1/4 cup sugar
6 tbsp cocoa powder
1 egg, beaten
1 1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
½ cup almonds, finely chopped
1 cup coconut

Middle Layer:
1/2 – 1 cup maraschino cherries
½ cup butter
3 tbsp maraschino cherry syrup
3 tbsp Cook-and-Serve vanilla pudding powder (NOT instant!)*
3 cups+ confectioner’s sugar
Red or pink food coloring, optional

Top layer:
6 oz semi sweet baking chocolate squares
3 tbsp butter

Melt butter in small saucepan. Add sugar and cocoa powder, mix well. Add egg, stir well. Egg will cook and thicken. Once thickened, remove from heat and pour into a larger bowl containing the last 3 bottom ingredients. Mix well and press firmly and evenly into the bottom of an ungreased 8 x 8 pan. Set aside.

Drain and finely chop the cherries, reserving 3 Tbsp of the syrup.

Cream Butter. Add cherry syrup and pudding powder, mix until well combined. Add cherries, stirring until once again well combined. Slowly and carefully add confectioner’s sugar to cherry mixture. Mixture should be VERY thick – add a little extra confectioner’s sugar if needed. Use a few drops of food coloring to boost tyhe pink color, if desired. Spread evenly over bottom layer.

Melt butter and chocolate over low heat. Remove from heat, allow to cool slightly, then pour over middle layer. Chill in fridge before slicing into bars.

* Vanilla pudding powder is the closest ingredient to “custard powder”, which is what you’d use if you’re in Canada or the UK.

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